A man charged with sexually grooming teenage boys and trafficking them to “clients” as part of an alleged human trafficking ring, has pleaded not guilty to the more than 730 charges against him.
Gerhard Ackerman appeared in the Gauteng High Court on Monday.
According to News24, Ackerman was charged alongside acting judge and senior advocate Paul Kennedy for allegedly running the human trafficking ring between September 2020 and July 2021. Kennedy has since died by suicide, however the court stated that Ackerman will stand trial for both their crimes.
The men were charged for sexually grooming children, being in possession of child pornography, creating child pornography, committing rape, sexual assault, compelled rape, compelled sexual assault, human trafficking, sexually grooming children and benefiting from sexually exploiting children.
News24 reported that Ackerman pleaded not guilty to all these charge thus far and still has 40 more counts to plead before the State calls its first witness.
He stands accused of helping Kennedy lure the teenagers. He is also accused of raping and assaulting some of the boys himself.
According to New24, Ackerman was previously arrested for allegedly assaulting an 11-year-old boy. He was granted bail in that case.
In a separate case, a 55-year-old Durban teacher was charged with six counts of rape. The Daily News reported that the teacher, who had been working at the Clermont high school since 2008, was arrested after he allegedly raped a 17-year-old girl.
In a second count, he allegedly inserted his fingers into the girl's vagina. The teacher allegedly did this to other girls. The man first appeared in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court and has since been transferred to a regional court.